A Reader Writes…
If my wife is having an affair with another married man, who has children and they are conspiring an elaborate way to get out of his marriage and our marriage, leaving a wake of destruction behind, my question is: “should I tell HIS wife that he is having an affair with MY wife and what his plans are to leave her broken with nothing and two children to look after.”
If I do tell his wife, should I do it anonymously or not? He will not tell his wife until all his conspiring ducks are in a row that suits him best and not her.
You are in a highly charged situation and the stakes are very high. So it’s good that you’ve stepped back and asked: My wife is having an affair should I tell his wife?
I’m going to start by answering your question (because I doubt you’ll focus on the second part of what I have to say until I do) but I’d like you to ask yourself some questions (which I think will be of far greater use in the long run.)
So should you tell your spouse’s affair partner’s other half? This tactic is fraught with danger and there are two particularly dangerous outcomes. Firstly, you stop the affair but your wife never forgives you (because you have gone behind her back, ruined the marriage of someone she loves or proved that you are a complete bastard who disregards her wishes).
I know you can argue – and I agree – she’s gone behind your back, he brought it on himself and what else could you do. However, what counts is what she thinks! Any way, you want her to choose to end the affair rather than be forced (and end up have secret facebook chats etc). In this way, you win a battle but lose the war.
Secondly, you could force everything out into the open but her affair partner leaves his wife and he’s now more available / appealing (and more likely to undermine attempts to save your marriage) or they simply run away together tomorrow.
There are other alternatives. You could just threaten your wife that you will tell his wife. However, I don’t think you can threaten someone into loving you! You could speak to the other man and tell him that if doesn’t back off, you’ll tell his wife.
There is a possibility that he might realise what he has to lose but coming across like an angry parent (telling him what’s best for his marriage and generally attacking him) is just as likely to make him start behaving like a rebellious teenager (and putting two fingers up to you both literally and metaphorically). Remember every word that you say will be reported back to your wife – with the worst possible spin.
In all of these options, you have given your wife more ammunition to say you’re the problem. Worse still, he becomes the victim of your attack and she has to ride to his rescue (and you’ve bonded them together even stronger so it’s poor little star cross lovers versus the rest of the world). Although you’re justifying your behaviour on his wife’s ‘right to know’ I doubt you’d get much thanks from her either.
My guess is she probably does know deep down and is, for reasons of her own, putting her fingers in her ears and going la la la. There’s no point trying to do this anonymously either, as they will KNOW it’s you and you’ll get the rap plus an extra dose of scorn and hatred for ‘not having the courage to come out and say it’ or ‘sneaking around’. (Once I know this is the pot calling the kettle black, but do you want to be right or married?)
So what should you do? I want you to step back and look at your thoughts and beliefs. In all your going over and over stuff in your mind, you have taken small snippets of information, put your interpretation on them and converted that into a solid fact.
Let me give you an example ‘he is planning to leave her broke with two children to care for’. What is the evidence? How could you possibly know his motives? (I doubt your even know your own motives or feelings as I bet they change from minute to minute from revenge, to forgiveness and back again.) Are you truly an independent witness? How do you know they are waiting to ‘line their ducks up’? What are these ducks? Could they equally be frightened, indecisive and vacillating?
Perhaps he does love his children and doesn’t want to break up his family but can’t give up his affair? Perhaps he’s just an ordinary guy caught between a rock and a hard place rather than how you paint him: a bond villain on a secret island stroking his cat.
Instead of focusing on this other man – who is probably a symptom of your problems rather than the cause – I’d much you focused on understanding how your marriage reached this point, learning from your mistakes and becoming the man you’d like to be (rather than someone who I doubt you recognise). Ultimately, you can’t make your wife do anything. The only thing you can control – in this out of control situations – is your own reactions to the drama (by keeping calm and not turning crisis into a tragedy).
Returning to your question, I would not tell your wife’s lover’s wife when you’re angry, frightened and desperate. Keep your powder dry (for the time being) and try to be the bigger person rather than descending down his level.
I know you’ve read My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More but please read I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You and How Can I Ever Trust You Again? too as they will help you with the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.